Woodville Woman Faces up to 5 Years, $250K Fine for Social Security Fraud, Health Care Fraud and Theft of Public Money
From the U.S. Attorney’s Office, District of Maine:
BANGOR, Maine: A Woodville woman pleaded guilty yesterday in U.S. District Court in Bangor to Social Security fraud, health care fraud and theft of public money.
According to court records, from about January 2005 through March 2021, Rella Austin-Kimball, 51, concealed the presence of her husband in her household and her receipt of alimony payments following divorce from the Social Security Administration (SSA) to maintain her eligibility to receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payments. SSI benefits are paid to people with limited income who are blind, disabled or elderly. Austin-Kimball also concealed her husband’s presence from the Maine Department of Health & Human Services (ME/DHHS) from about January 2005 to July 2017, during which time she received MaineCare and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits. Her concealment of her husband’s presence in her household also allowed her then-minor child to receive SSI benefits from about November 2006 through January 2015 and MaineCare and SNAP benefits through February 2013.
In multiple benefit eligibility reviews, Austin-Kimball falsely represented to the SSA and ME/DHHS that she and her husband had separated in January 2005 and had lived separately since that time. Following her divorce, she failed to disclose her receipt of alimony payments during eligibility reviews. She failed to disclose these events despite knowing that she was required to and that they would affect her eligibility to receive benefits for herself and on behalf of her son.
Austin-Kimball faces up to five years in prison, a fine of up to $250,000, and up to three years of supervised release on the Social Security fraud and health care fraud charges. She faces up to 1 year in prison, a fine of up to $100,000, and up to one year of supervised release on the theft of public money charge. She will be sentenced after the completion of a presentence investigation report by the U.S. Probation Office. A federal district judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
SSA’s Office of the Inspector General and ME/DHHS’s Fraud Investigation & Recovery Unit investigated the case.